iPhone 6 (frame, C Tech 002)iPhone 6 (frame, C Tech 001)

The notoriously unreliable Digitimes last month called for a larger size iPhone in May and today Chinese website Huanqiu reiterated that an iPhablet would arrive in time for the next Galaxy S smartphone confirmed for May 2014.

The next iPhone – let’s call it the iPhone 6 for the convenience sake – is generally thought to come in two sizes, one 4.7-inch and the larger one with a phablet-grade screen measuring a whopping 5.7 inches diagonally.

And now, images of an alleged frame have appeared online to suggest a notably thinner appearance compared to the current-generation iPhone 5s. Could this part be genuine? My two cents are right below…

A pair of photographs seen top of post were posted by Chinese leaker website C Tech.

Not much to be gleaned from the low-resolution shots other than the visibly thinner frame versus the current-generation Apple handset.

Bear in mind that in the run-up to the official iPhone 5s announcement C Tech leaked a number of parts which later proved authentic. As for this part, maybe it’s an early trial production part though it doesn’t look genuine to me.

It could be also an aftermarket component, a hoax or simply one of the parts belonging to an iPhone prototype that never materialized.

For starters, what’s up with the edges having an old style roundedness to them? To me, this looks like a mid-plate, a design Apple long abandoned in favor of Unibody construction.

For additional analysis, read Eric Slivka’s take over at MacRumors.

With that off our backs, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that upcoming gadgets will be thinner than the ones they replace, courtesy of manufacturing technology advances and the ever-shrinking components.

iPhone 6 concept

Much of the next iPhone’s supposed thinness should be the work of its presumably larger form-factor making additional room for components such as the wireless and memory chips, the main processor, the cameras and the battery.

The media is of course quick to spell doom for Apple unless it jumps on the phablet bus. Take, for example, a recent write-up by Gareth Beavis over at TechRadar:

I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but 2014 could well be the year that Apple makes its biggest mistake in recent history.

No, I’m not talking about the iWatch – I still think that could actually be rather good – no, Apple has to, HAS TO, bring out a large screen version of the iPhone or it’s going to really struggle to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.

Countering his notion is Ben Bajarin who reminds us Apple hasn’t become so successful by skating where the puck is. “Apple has customers not competition,” he explains:

Folks claim that because Apple’s competition is doing something that Apple should also or they will lose. Yet what I love about Apple’s strategy is that it is never around what the competition is doing. Apple marches to beat of their own drum.

Apple has customers not competition. The decisions they make as a company are not based around what their competition is doing but around what is best for their customers. Like it or not, this is their strategy.

Sounds just about right to me, which isn’t saying that an Apple phablet of sorts isn’t being cooked up in Jony Ive’s kitchen as we speak.

In fact, when you take into account what Tim Cook & Co. have done last year with the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display, it’s becoming clear that 2014 could very well be the year of two form-factor iPhones, both based on exactly the same internals and design, the only difference being the screen size and price.

Make sense?

Does Apple really HAVE TO bring out a larger screen iPhone in 2014 or else…?